This is one of the first episodes of the series that I'd ever seen, and one of my favourites because of the creepy otherworld vibe in the second half.
Ariel's relationship with her father is in the spotlight. When the episode opens they're in a good place, with Ariel cheerfully asking Triton to go with her on a swim, though he apologizes that he can't join her because of other things he has to do. Ariel ends up exploring with Flounder, and finds a magnifying glass (or a "biggermajigger") that she brings back to the palace. When Triton sees her admiring it, he loses his temper and destroys it without a second thought.
Ariel gets understandably upset, and swims off with Flounder. Above a deep canyon, Flounder spies a shiny thing just inside the walls of the canyon. It turns out to be a gold charm bracelet, which is stuck to a piece of coral. Ariel takes the bracelet, except for one piece which breaks off, and is immediately enchanted by how pretty it is. But when the bracelet refuses to come off, she realises that she can't go home because Triton would blow his top again.
Eventually Ariel realises that she needs to piece she left behind at the canyon, which is the key that is supposed to open the bracelet. When she returns to collect it, she is sucked into a powerful whirlpool and ends up trapped in what is the underwater equivalent of Alice's Wonderland, and I mean the original creepy-bizarre Wonderland, not the Disney one.
Unknown to Ariel, Triton is busy angsting over the fact that he owes Ariel an apology, and can't seem to be able to give one without losing his temper. Still, he waits for her to return.
It's really sweet that the series shows true affection between Ariel and her father, instead of turning into a 2-dimensional thing where he's always scolding her. They are much more similar than they realise, which makes the events of the film all that more heartbreaking.
|Flounder:||Ariel, don't go down there!|
|Ariel:||Oh, don't do this! Don't do that! Who do you think you are, my father?|
|Flounder:||Gee... Someday I might be a father. I might even have a daughter like... Whoa! Too scary! Way too scary!|
|King Triton:||I have to be with firm, Sebastian. Human things will be our ruin. Oh, why won't she leave them alone? Why won't she listen to me?|
|Sebastian:||She can't help it, Your Majesty. She's stubborn! ( Adds softly: ) Runs in the family.|
|( While admiring the bracelet charms. )|
|Ariel:||This must be a... a human girl. And this, this must be a human boy. Oh. He's, uh, not very handsome, is he? But he looks like he has a nice personality!|
|Flounder:||If your father catches you with this thing—|
|Ariel:||Oh Flounder, stop acting like a little sardine!|
|King Triton:||Where is that girl? It's not like her to stay out this late.|
|Sebastian:||Oh, your Majesty, that's the tenth you've said that. Don't worry.|
|King Triton:||And that's the tenth time you've said, "Don't worry."|
|King Triton:||I don't feel so great, Ariel. I feel I've let you down.|
|Sebastian:||Not you, Your Majesty.|
|Triton:||I've made you afraid to come to me with your problems. From now on, I promise to listen.|
|Ariel:||I'd like that.|
|King Triton:||So, no matter what trouble you're in, I want you to know you can always come home.|